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Debts vs. Mental Health

edited 8 February 2011 at 11:27AM in MoneySaving polls
38 replies 5.9K views


  • edited 2 February 2011 at 7:06PM
    lkatelkate Forumite
    60 Posts
    edited 2 February 2011 at 7:06PM
    josie3651 wrote: »
    apology accepted, everyone needs help, lets hope the NHS release funding to employ more mental health nurses :)

    I dont think its because we dont have enough mental health nurses.
    It starts at the beginning with the GPs
    After one incident I don't feel I can ever go to my GP with mental health issues again.
    And the amount of time you have to wait just to see a counsellor.
    From what I've seen with friends and family, it takes YEARS to see a psychiatrist to finally get diagnosed and get help with your problems..... It took about 8 years for my mum.
    Most GPs seem to dish out anti-depressants which only work for a short time and are in NO WAY a long term approach. And counsellors can't even diagnose you with a mental illness.
    There needs to be more clinical work and psychiatrists in the field and there needs to more communication between them and the GPs.

    Mortgage free date: Jul 2023.
  • I've suffered from depression much of my adult life but a few years ago had been able to start working again. Then I went through a difficult patch and was signed off for a while. The day before I was going back to work I went to the bank as I couldn't afford my rent. Although they wouldn't increase my overdraft they did offer a loan instead - provided I paid off my credit card even though that meant borowing a lot more and at a higher rate of interest than I was paying. But they let me keep my credit card, even though the guy at the bank said he 'ought to take it away really'!!! I was told not to bother with insurance as it probably wouldn't pay up given my mental health problems! As it was, I was only back at work for one day and couldn't cope. Eventually returned part-time but soon became ill again and had zero motivation so couldn't get benefits sorted- used my credit card instead. 4 years later I still owed more than I borrowed in the first place!
    Now paying it all off through CCCS. I think the bank behaved totally irresponsibly but at the end of the day I did spend the money so I will do all I can to pay it back - even though it's going to take quite a few years!
  • edited 2 February 2011 at 11:39PM
    RubyShoesdayRubyShoesday Forumite
    1 Post
    edited 2 February 2011 at 11:39PM
    I was first hospitalised when I was 17 and since the nobody seems to be able to decide if I have BPD or not. I definitely have anxiety and panic disorders and I have spent money I don't have to keep myself 'safe' and other things to cheer myself up or reward myself for doing difficult things (by this I mean a cake or a book, nothing particularly extravagant). I was earning a reasonable wage as an administrator before I was made redundant and cracked again 10 years later. This time not under the protection of my Dad's Bupa cover because I was an adult I seemed not to be able to get the treatment I badly needed from the NHS. I was unable to work and applied for benefits which left me with nothing for 6 weeks which is apparently the norm and housing benefit had a 'backlog' which took them 8 months to make a payment on my claim. By which time I had been thoroughly bullied and harassed by an unscrupulous landlord and eventually evicted. I had a loan and an overdraft which went unpaid as I couldn't function on a basic level of looking after myself so dealing with that was beyond me. The threatening phone calls at unusual times made my anxiety go off the chart and definitely made my thinking more catastrophic and me more unwell. Eventually coming to the realisation I might not ever be able to work I had to go bankrupt as I barely had enough to live on (nobody had told me about DLA) I went bankrupt for £5k. Which seems hardly worth it but at the time if I felt I had no option. I had to borrow the money to do it as well which now seems quite funny.

    I begged the NHS for 2 years and finally got on to a DBT programme. It has given me a new life. I still struggle a bit and such a large gap in my CV and the mental health stigma means that I have ended up as an overeducated checkout monkey. However I am still debt free 3 years on from the bankruptcy and am very close to being able to support myself without DSS assistance.

    I have since found that MIND in some areas offer a financial planning service. The are not accountants but help you set up direct debits or payments direct from benefits and work out your budgets and check you are receiving the benefits you are entitled to. I found this through my local mental health day centre (which is being closed due to budget cuts)

    Sorry for oversharing! :o
  • mel12mel12 Forumite
    298 Posts
    I have mental health probs & am very responsible with money despite a v. low income.

    I don't want to be disciminated against if i ever want a mortgage, or a credit card for the Section 75 protection on a large purchase.

    While I can see there are real problems for some people plz be careful how u campaign on this issue as in my opinion u risk making mental health diagnosis even more stigmatizing & difficult by restricting access to credit (& thereby much that others take for granted) based on a label.
    Only after the last tree has been cut down,
    Only after the last river has been poisoned,
    Only after the last fish has been caught,
    Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten
  • I had depression and anxiety issues but was coping with counselling and medication, this enabled me to continue a stressful job. I was forced to give up work when a bank L***** messed up my life. I was self employed and was forced by law to employ an accountant for annual returns (warning do not trust accountants wholly) they failed to submit my annual accounts and cheque even tho I had signed them both. The bank froze my company account and left me without money, I went to them for advice(BIG mistake) they recommended a local solicitor specialising in company law. They then accepted a cheque into the frozen account for several thousand pounds which meant that I had to go to court to have it reiinstated. The recommended solicitor was subsequently struck off for embezzeling clients funds to feed his gambling debts! Apparently he was already under investigation when the bank recommended them!
    The whole process took over 6 months to sort out and resulted in me having to take time off for increased mental health issues. I had threats to put me in jail, the tax man threatened me over the phone saying they could take my home away to which I responded take it the mortgage is higher than its value because of negative equity!. In desperation I phoned the Queens counsel to explain my situation and they said as it was my only source of income it could be expedited within 2 weeks and helped me bring it to a conclusion. I was left with debts of several thousand caused by my overdraft, in those days you had to pay vat even if you hadn't received it. If my bank L***** had not accepted a payment into my frozen account it would have been settled in less than 2 weeks, their acceptance of this payment was also illegal but they benefited from my demise with extra banking charges.
    This series of events destroyed my mental health and confidence but with the help of psychologists and counselling I was able to return to work.
    I dread to think what can happen in the current climate with companies being squeezed and jobs cut, without the support of debt counselling or mental health counselling. Why is money seen as more important than people's well being. It would be great if the government could be sued for any damage caused by these unreasonable cuts. We don't hear about them cutting their pensions or reducing their expenses bills, or even their wine hoards. Why should they have subsidised wine, isn't alchohol a drug? In my job I could be sacked for drinking at lunchtime why are they allowed to?
  • SnowManSnowMan Forumite
    3.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Photogenic
    It is very interesting to read people's experiences on this.

    As a volunteer adviser at my local CAB I see the stress that people are under when faced by debts that become overwhelming. I am not sure whether it is a case of debt leading to mental health issues or whether it is people with mental health issues who while trying to face these issues are unable to manage their finances and so get into debt.

    We hear MSE talk about the spiral of debt and my own take is that there is a corresponding different spiral going on here. You start off which a small mental health issue that you are able to cope with, however that gets you into a little debt, the debt worsens your mental health issue, as a result you are less able to deal with your debts, the debt increases and then the mental health issue becomes a major one and so on. Add that to the usual meaning of spiral of debt relating to the build of interest and late payment charges it all gets out of control.

    An interesting news item from Plymouth about the relationship between menatl health and debt is here also
    I came, I saw, I melted
  • emmaGDBemmaGDB Forumite
    22 Posts
    This is a very important issue. However cause and effect are unclear. Does deppression cause debt? eg deppressed cant work no money cant face dealing with spiralling bank charges. OR does debt cause deppression?
    Personally the former was true, but I can also see that the latter being significant.
    I wonder what conclusion academic research suggests?
  • MSE_MartinMSE_Martin MoneySaving Expert
    8.3K Posts
    mel12 wrote: »
    I have mental health probs & am very responsible with money despite a v. low income.

    I don't want to be disciminated against if i ever want a mortgage, or a credit card for the Section 75 protection on a large purchase.

    While I can see there are real problems for some people plz be careful how u campaign on this issue as in my opinion u risk making mental health diagnosis even more stigmatizing & difficult by restricting access to credit (& thereby much that others take for granted) based on a label.

    Mel our aim is to try and help people who have debt and mental health issues coinciding. The last thing we want is to campaign to disenfranchise those with mental health from borrowing - though I do think the ability to cap your CC usage vountarily if you've MH issues is worthwhile.
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
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  • RafterRafter Forumite
    3.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker

    Although the results are not necessarily representative it is clear to see between the two groups that mental health is a major contributor to debt issues, or alternatively that debt issues are a major contributor to mental health.

    There are also some studies that suggest 20% of people are mentally incapable of understanding debt and resisting the urge to spend money if offered to them.

    It also says to me that despite all the new regulations and tougher rules about debt there is still something wrong with a debt based society that allows large amounts of unsecured borrowing.

    As long as you have assets to support your debt (house worth more than your mortgage, car worth more than your car loan) then debt is manageable, whatever happens to your personal situation.

    What is wrong is that money can be borrowed to fund a lifestyle, non essential gadgets, clothes, holidays which you then end up paying off over 20 years if you only make minimum payments on your credit cards.

    Personally I think the minimum payment on a credit card should be about 10% so debt is repaid within 12 months after interest. Likewise personal loans for anything other than cars, home improvements or something of value should be limited to 3 years in duration.

    That way people simply couldn't afford to get into debt to the same extent but nor would access to reasonable amounts of credit be denied.

    Smile :), it makes people wonder what you have been up to.
  • Having worked in mental health for the past 20 years I feel able to comment on this. I definately think debt can lead to depressions but it doesn't normally lead to severe mental health problems (such as schizophrenia and bi-polar illness). On the other hand chronic severe mental illness (particularly schiziohrenia) usually does lead to unemployment.

    On another thread I know of a lot of middle aged women who don't work but whose husbands earn megga money and materially they have a great life style but they are unfulfiiled and very depressed.
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